The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team checks in at No. 18 in the country in the NAIA coaches poll.

The ranking is four spots ahead of where the Lions finished in last season, checking out at No. 22. Other Sooner Athletic Conference members in the top-25 include No. 5 Oklahoma City University, No. 11 Texas Wesleyan University, and No. 20 Wayland Baptist University 20. The University of the Science and Arts and Langston University received votes, which would put them at 28 and 38, respectively.

“We are excited to be recognized nationally, it’s a great honor," SAGU head men's basketball coach Delton Deal said. "Now we are really looking forward to trying to continue to build on the successes this program has had over the last several years.”

The Lions are coming off of an outstanding season in 2017-2018 that saw SAGU win the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament and advance to the NAIA national tournament. SAGU finished with an overall record of 24-10 and 13-7 in the SAC on the year.

SAGU opened its season with a closed exhibition Monday against Division-II Tarleton State University.

The Lions have also added Division-I Stephen F. Austin to their schedule, traveling to Nacogdoches on Nov. 8.

Stephen F. Austin won the Southland Conference tournament, which automatically qualified the Lumberjacks for the NCAA tournament where they had their season cut short in the round of 64 by Texas Tech University, 70-60. SFA had key wins against Louisiana Tech, Rice, LSU, and North Dakota State.

The Lumberjacks return all-conference guard Shannon Bogues and juniors Kevon Harris and TJ Holyfield.

SAGU officially opens their season at 7 p.m. Thursday against Champion Christian College in the Texas Snowstorm held in Waxahachie.